By June 2, 2021

Top 5 Programming Languages for Mobile App Development

programming languages mobile app developmentThe world is becoming digitized at an increased pace, and companies have to keep up with its constant changes. Particularly because of the pandemic, businesses are now more aware of how important it is to have a stable mobile app—those companies that have a weak or no platform on the internet will hardly be able to survive this digitization process.

When you look around you, almost everyone is installing one app or another on their mobile to access whatever they need. From keychains to wallpaper randomizers, and from a world of games to educational resources, mobile apps have done it all.

And to make an app, we need programming languages.

In general, a programming language is a way of telling a computer what to do in writing. This is made up of a combination of symbols, letters, and words that correspond to the instructions for the computer.

As a developer, the first thing you should ask yourself when considering mobile app development as a career is this: What is the best programming language to learn?

There are already countless programming languages ​​out there, and new ones are constantly being developed, all of which differ from one another. Let’s discuss some of the languages at the top of the list for programmers to learn so that they can keep providing users with new and improved experiences on their mobile devices.

Swift

Swift is a powerful, compiled programming language designed to work with iOS, OS X, and tvOS platforms. Swift is one of the most user-friendly languages out there. It is not just readily available to work with but is also easy to learn. Such an attribute makes it a go-to language for any newcomer or veteran just looking to polish their skills in the game.

It is one of the top five most versatile programming languages to use for development on desktops, tablets, mobile phones, and especially for servers. In other words, anything with code can be executed on Swift.

Swift is a general-purpose language with several uses across the board in app development. It improves upon that approach with a modern method of coding, safety, performance, and design patterns.

Swift’s overall goal is to be easily accessible and provide high scalability from desktops, servers, and mobile phones to cloud services. But do not mistake it as a discipline you can master with anything less than hard work and devotion. Swift is vast and complex, especially if not given due attention. In other words, it’s easy to learn and get started with, but mastering it requires work.

Still, Swift is relatively easy to pick up if you have a basic understanding of or experience in programming fundamentals. It is interactive, and that is what makes it the best of both worlds: working with an Apple engineering culture and the diverse open-source development community.

The compiler is performance-optimized while the language itself is development-optimized. This makes it a more streamlined approach to coding and development, making it easy to use and considered an industrial-quality programming language. The syntax and standard library of the coding compel the code to be written fluidly so as to not compromise on the performance of the app or program.

Objective-C

Objective-C, as the name suggests, is an object-oriented programming language. It is the primary language used when writing programs for OS X and iOS.

It was created in the 1980s and has since then been improved on immensely. This language offers an easy learning curve. It has allowed the developers to create and enable highly complex programming tasks with incredible ease.

However, it is worth noting that there hasn’t been enough development in this language over the past 30 years. It has a complex and cumbersome syntax that could freak out initial users.

For developers, languages are all about code safety, compilation, and syntax. Objective-C has proven to be a language that lacks in essential areas. It uses runtime code compilation that is slow in performance. Overall, the language is easy for iOS, but intricate patterns and outdated versions can slow down the performance.

Java

Java is an object-oriented language and has been dubbed to be the best framework for native Android app development. It’s easy to handle and makes way for the best documentation and impeccable support from the community—all owed to its in-built open-source libraries, which are easily accessible for the language users.

Java has a wide array of functionalities, making it the best framework where you can develop Android apps, websites, server apps, and much more. It is the go-to framework for many developers out there, as it is celebrated for the portability and reusability of the code. The code can be executed in various environments, browsers, virtual machines, and a compendium of other platforms.

It also shields the developers from the inherently calamitous results present in memory leaks, native code, etc. Java is the most prized language because it is said to be platform-independent. The Java source code can be used on different platforms, making it platform-independent.

However, there are also certain drawbacks associated with this language. For instance, there are some cases where you could see complex syntax and badly written class libraries. So make sure you know how to fix these issues if and when they arise so your app’s users aren’t too affected by these errors.

Kotlin

Kotlin is a fairly new open-source language that targets the JVM, Android, JavaScript, and Native. It is a safe, tool-friendly, and concise application.

The best part is that this app is interoperable with the Java programming language, allowing the developers to share code. More than 60% of Android developers now use this programming language to boost productivity and code safety.

It was developed by JetBrains. They aim to help developers focus on what they want to achieve without working on mundane and repetitive tasks. It also offers first-class support for functional programming, and the built-in protection against errors related to nulls make the language fault-proof and easy to maintain.

Dart

Dart is an open-source programming language created by Google, which is used to develop native and cross-platform mobile app development.

The main reason I chose to learn Dart is because of Flutter, which makes developing cross-platform mobile apps really easy. Flutter is a mobile SDK created by Google that uses Dart language to develop cross-platform mobile applications from the same codebase. If you want to learn Flutter, I suggest you pick up the Dart programming language.

You may be surprised to know that Flutter is the language on which the world’s biggest e-commerce platform, Alibaba, runs. If that wasn’t impressive enough for a coding language that has been there for such a short tenure, then another fact might interest you:

Google Ads uses Flutter.

According to Google Trends search results from May 2020 to May 2021, comparing Google search results between Flutter and React Native shows Flutter to be the most searched term.

This is quite the resume for a language still in its infancy. Considering what it has already proven with such achievements, it takes no stretch of the imagination to see how handy Flutter could be in the future.

Flutter is at the forefront of mobile app development as we speak, so much so that it is regarded to be in the same league as React Native, Unity 3D, and Xamarin. It is highly regarded as a tool by the professional and up-and-coming learners of the discipline looking to break into the industry. Due to its exclusive benefits and robust features, developers and startups choose Flutter for mobile app development.

Choose the Best Programming Language for Your User Base

The aforementioned list is by no means exhaustive. These programming languages can be, and have been, integrated quite often. This mix and match functionality allows developers to select the most appropriate languages for use in developing apps that give  the user a better solution with a more user-friendly experience.

Since these apps gel well together so frequently, this shows exactly why the practice of learning more than one kind of coding is on the rise, like in the case of using full stack and MERN stack, and more. Anyone considering getting into programming should know that these languages represent the upper tier in mobile app development. Therefore, getting a jump-start on them would come in handy.

About the author

Mehul Rajput

Mehul Rajput is a CEO and co-founder of Mindinventory, a software-development company that provides web and mobile app solutions from startup to enterprise level companies. His role involves heading the operations related to business and delivery with strategic planning and defining a roadmap for the future. He’s an avid blogger and writes on web and mobile technologies, startup, and business.